(This letter was written in May 1187 prior to Hattin.)
Unto Their Royal Majesties Ailgheanan and Amber
Earl Richard of RaeFen sends
On this the feast day of Saint George, 1187
The first leg of our pilgrimage is mercifully over. We have finally arrived in Jerusalem. The sea journey from Genoa was quite rough. The Captain claims the seas had not been so high in many years. Our return home will take much longer as I plan now to only board two more ships. One to cross the Bosporus and the second will be my final voyage across the Channel. We lost most of our food supplies as sea water made its way into every hold on the ship. Many of our barrels were destroyed. Whether it was poor craftsmanship or improper storage is the debate.
Duc Orlando Cavalconti proved a worthy adversary when dealing with our party for passage from Genoa. I am afraid he got the better of us in the deal, but he was very hospitable otherwise and provided a sumptuous parting feast for us (at no charge much to our surprise.) Duc Orlando is deeply involved in most commerce in Genoa, his hands are everywhere and not always on top of the table.
Countess Ellawin and I were presented to King Guy and Queen Sibylla at Court thanks be to your letters of introduction. King Guy is a pleasant sort, but seems to be easily led by his advisors. You would find the lack of discipline among his own retainers most unacceptable.
The news in Jerusalem is not as we expected. Reynald of Chatillon most recklessly captured a Muslim caravan. It is said that while a captive in Aleppo Reynald developed an intense hatred for Islam. His rashness in capturing the caravan is a rallying point for the Muslims. The Sultan Saladin has brought an army into the field. His proclamation of a Holy War has his followers at a fevered pitch.
King Guy knows Jerusalem will be unable to stand against this great Commander. A delegation is being sent to attempt a reconciliation with Count Raymond of Tripoli. It seems that Count Raymond supported Sibylla’s sister, Isabella in her quest for the Crown of Jerusalem. The Crown passed to one of the two sisters by lineage with Guy winning Kingship through marriage. Raymond has a reputation as a master tactician. He could prove to be most useful in the coming months.
Countess Ellawin is composing a letter of her own telling you of the many sites we have seen in this magnificent city. We pray that all is well with you. And I look forward to a dry return to Meridies.
Richard of RaeFen
(This letter was sent just prior to the Battle at Hattin.)
Unto Their Royal Majesties Ailgheanan and Amber
Does Richard of RaeFen Send
I hope all is well with you. Sir Robert of Auk and Countess Aelgifu and their households have finally arrived. The Ship’s Master under whom they sailed insisted on making port no less than ten times in hopes of parlaying his trade goods into a small fortune. Robert’s knife at his throat finally convinced him that it would be in his best interest to be satisfied with the worldly goods already in his possession. They finally docked in Tyre in late May. As you know, Sir Robert is to be the commander of the Knights of Jerusalem.
The Sultan Saladin and his army have regained control over Egypt, Damascus, Aleppo, and Mosul and are now ravaging the countryside within two days ride of here. I fear for the Kingdom of Jerusalem. On May 1st he led a foray into the area near Saffuriya. His band of 7000 warriors surprised the Grand Master of the Templars, Gerard de Ridefort and 140 mounted knights and an equal number of foot soldiers at the Spring of Cresson. It is believed that the Muslims acted as if they were retreating and by this manner caused Gerard to lead his knights in a charge into the midst of the Muslims, thus separating themselves from the foot soldiers. The Christians were slaughtered, but somehow the Grand Master survived. It is being told that separating his small force caused the tragedy. I believe his arrogance to be more the factor.
King Guy and Raymond, the count of Tripoli are planning to lead an army to relieve the city of Tiberias. The military Orders will be taking part in this endeavor and their successes against the infidel are well known. The True Cross is to be carried into the field. Confidence is running strong and our spirits are high. We will be leaving in the morning.
I must attend to some last minute matters now. But know that Countess Ellawin and I look forward to returning to a peaceful Meridies.
Please know I remain in service,
Richard of RaeFen
I am alive and a prisoner. My wounds are small compared to the anguish you must have felt upon hearing the army of Jerusalem was destroyed and the True Cross lost. That glorious army deserved a better end.
My captor, Hajii, I believe him to be much like a Baron in our own lands, is releasing me upon my oath to pay to him 20 gold beazants. I have given that oath and he allowed this letter to be sent to you. I will be allowed to leave within the next few days.
Rumors abound through the Saracen army as rapidly as those through our own armies. It seems that Saladin is set upon capturing the coastal cities and fortifications before besieging Jerusalem.
Stay in Jerusalem! You will be safe there for the time being. Find Sir Robert Greenheart and he will protect you until I arrive. Do not leave Jerusalem. Please know that my every thought and action is to be with you again.
Your loving husband
Unto Their Royal Majesties Ailgheanan and Amber
Does Richard of RaeFen Send
All is falling down around our very ears. A tragedy such as has never been seen in our lifetimes has occurred. The True Cross has been lost. The great army of King Guy has been destroyed by Saladin on this past July 4.
King Guy and Count Raymond of Tripoli led the army to Tiberias to rescue Raymond’s wife. The army was harassed by mounted archers while on the march to Saffuriya. It was their intent to camp there within the walls of the castle overnight on the 3rd before resuming the march to Tiberias, this being the only source of water short of Tiberias.
But, the Muslim army was very successful at harrying our rear and flanks and holding itself to the better ground and maintaining a threatening posture so that our way to Saffuriya was denied to us. Our leaders ordered the army to continue the march to Tiberias and that we would make camp in the open (this being contrary to all we have learned from fighting these minions of Allah.) The night was long, hot and offered no relief to our soldiers. The water rations had been long depleted and there was little food even if you felt like eating.
The morning of the 4th of July Saladin had his army in three bodies to our rear and flanks. They pressed our rearguard heavily, then retreated if our armored knights attacked hoping to draw them away from the main column. This tactic is very common to the Muslims, but we did not fall into this trap. Their mounted archers swarmed all about our right flank inflicting some injury to the horses to those men less well armored than the knights. The Muslims sent men along our left flank to set fires to bar our movement in that direction. The smoke blew through our column reducing our vision of their army’s movements.
It became obvious that we were to be denied the road to Tiberias and that full engagement of our armies was imminent. King Guy chose to move to a defensive position along two hills known as the Horns of Hattin. When this decision was made Count Raymond and his retainers fled the field. I say fled as I can not imagine any tactical reason for them to leave. King Guy had his pavillion erected on one hill as his command post and a rallying point for the army. That red tent stood like a beacon on the hill and seemed to infuriate the Muslims as line after line of their warriors attacked at that point.
As I lay wounded I was able to see the carnage around the pavillion caused by Sir Lee Fribrand and the Templars. I do not know what happened to them as the battle moved away from me when the red tent fell. The battle ended shortly thereafter. I fear that it went badly for them as Saladin ordered all soldiers of the military orders to be executed with the exception of Reynald of Chatillon. Saladin ordered Reynald brought before him whereupon he himself, in a fit of rage, struck Reynald’s head from his shoulders. I was made captive, but ransomed along with a small number of survivors.
The coastal cities of Acre, Beirut, and Sidon have already fallen to the Muslims. And now Saladin is bringing his army to bear on Jerusalem. I do not believe we will be able to defend this city with the few soldier remaining.
I will send further word when the time allows.
Please know I remain in service,
Disaster has surely befallen us. What can one say except that this can only be God's will. While Saladin was building and consolidating his forces, we fought one another. While troops poured into his army from all parts, Christendom sent nothing. Between this and Cresson mere weeks earlier our order has been put to the test by God and a great many of our Brothers are gone. If King Guy had attacked Saladin's forces instead of striking camp or even if we had stayed in Sephorie instead of marching to Tiberiade we could have meet the enemy on our terms. Regardless, from the moment we set out, Saladin sprang the trap. As our Brothers in the rear guard were harassed and our horses were cut down by arrows, Saladins main force surrounded King Guy, our Master, many of our Brothers, the Bishops and the true cross. We saw the Kings red tent struck down along with our banners. It was only then that Balian and the few of us on horseback who remained in the rear guard broke through to the south. We tried to make it to Acre, but Saladins forces have already surrounded the city. We will try to make it to Tyre to join you and the remnants of our brothers. With our garrisons emptied, I fear the worst.
I hope the letter finds you in better condition than most of the brethren from the company. I have regrouped my squires and am making my way for Tyre rumored to still be under the control of the faithful. I find no refuge in this country and fight continuously with elements of Saladin's army while the main portion of his army raids, tortures, and kills the faithful. After the chaos of the battle at Hattin and the loss of the True Cross and Grandmaster i found Brother Malachi and his Squire Miguel both injured but still skirmishing with the infidel. Alas after our last encounter with the infidel i fear Brother Malachi is too injured to sit a horse and has chosen to become chaplain to the company as we regroup.
Make your way to Tyre. I fear Jerusalem will fall before we can reform.
I pray that this letter has reached you safely. Please take my words to the local priests and to my Templar brothers in France.
The demon Saladin has destroyed much of our forces, and stolen the true cross. We rode out to meet the Saracens but were surrounded at Hattin. Fire plagued us on all sides, and brothers to my left and right were consumed by the flames. I watched as King Guy was captured and I am ashamed to admit I could not prevent the true cross fromfalling into infidel hands. It is only through God’s grace and mercy that I was spared.
I am still serving Brother Ingolf though I cannot speak to how many of my Brothers yet live. We are making our way to Tyre in an attempt to regroup with other knights before Saladin strikes again. Brother Malachi was unhorsed and suffered a serious wound, we found him along the road guarded by his squire Miguel. The Hospitallers say he will not be able to ride and so he has taken up as our priest. I have heard talk amongst the Sergeants that Brother Wulfric and Sir Richard still live. I pray that this is true, but how could anyone survive the horrors we faced at Hattin?
We pray day and night that God will restore his blessing and protection to us, but secretly I fear that left on our own, Jerusalem will surely fall. If that be God’s will know too that the Brothers of the Temple will fall defending it.
To Sir Robert -Jerusalem.
Bad news befalls us at every turn. We are living in the wilderness and subsisting on the diet of Saint John. Frater Yehuda reminds us at every stop of the trials of Saint Eustace whose altar he protects and we are humbled and reminded ours is a lesser struggle. En route to Tyre we saw a fast rising dust column a few days ago at morning. Fearing for the worst our souls were praiseful to see the Beausant at the head of the small unit. Brother Valdrikr Albriktsson was leading a band of sergeants and joined us. Our Templar force is now more than twice the original. We made ready for the trip to Tyre and rode hard for the first day. On the second day as we could see the plains of Tyre the infidel plague came into view. I am fearful for brother Wulfric's safety as he was ahead of us in riding for Tyre. I fear he has fallen in the dust as Saladin encircled the city.
Our intent was to ride for Acre and the hospitality of the Lazarites and harass the fringes of the infidel army along the way. One afternoon we engaged a small band of infidel and killed all but two. We found an alarming thing. One was infidel and quickly dispatched after offered the opportunity to save his worthless soul. The other was a much more treacherous and foul discovery, a byzantine follower and self confessed Christian fighting in the ranks of the infidel. He was living, eating, and, sleeping with, and like one of them. I questioned him repeatedly and with much determination about the source of his erroneous ways hoping to find it a personal decision and not one influenced by their Patriarch. No amount of persuasion could pry the answer from him, and tonight he lies with his comrades his soul in scales of Saint Michel and his body in the dust.
Only two days after we encountered another band with more of the same. They lie together as they lived infidel, and Christian. We also then discovered the great plague of locust infidel moving north again and quitting the city of Tyre. We are now riding around the great horde of infidel and for Tyre to reunite with whatever remains of our brethren and ride for you and the inevitable Battle to come.
I hope this missive finds you well. Much has passed in the 5 years since god touched me with the taint of the leper and I departed the confines of the Brotherhood of the Temple. With heavy heart I write, as it appears that King Guy's forces have met with the devils emissary, Saladin. The fact that they have been victorious, proves to me that said foul Saracen must be in league with Satan. How else would they have put low such a well armed host? Alas, I pray that that my brother Lazarites gave a good accounting of themselves. The few missives I have received report they fought and died well, leaving many of their godless foes dead at their feet. I feel sure that they are in the arms of God now, there earthly suffering at an end.
In Acre preparations go well for the pending assault, of the approaching army there is no sign, but daily missives do herald their vile approach. Alas, the city elders wail about our troops securing and stockpiling food staples in preparation of the dark times ahead. But thankfully these complaints fall on deaf ears, for our elders have endured a siege from the inside and know well the hazards that are entailed.
Riders say your host is bound for Tyre. I pray that passage finds you well and safe in that good port. But if you cannot make the walls of Tyre, make for us. You will find safe harbor here. Tyre boasts a large garrison and high walls surely it will hold until the Lionheart or Barbarossa arrives.
Regardless of where you find safe haven, should you need the swords of the Lazarites, send word. We will depart within an hour of receiving the call.
bi Ism Ullah Al Rahman Al Raheem
The Khafr Salibee Usurper of Jerusalem has fallen at Hattin .
In the words of al-Afdal himself
When the king of the Franks was on the hill with that band, they made a formidable charge against the Muslims facing them, so that they drove them back to my father [Saladin]. I looked towards him and he was overcome by grief and his complexion pale. He took hold of his beard and advanced, crying out "Give the lie to the Devil!" The Muslims rallied, returned to the fight and climbed the hill. When I saw that the Franks withdrew, pursued by the Muslims, I shouted for joy, "We have beaten them!" But the Franks rallied and charged again like the first time and drove the Muslims back to my father. He acted as he had done on the first occasion and the Muslims turned upon the Franks and drove them back to the hill. I again shouted, "We have beaten them!" but my father rounded on me and said, "Be quiet! We have not beaten them until that tent falls." As he was speaking to me, the tent fell. The sultan dismounted, prostrated himself in thanks to God Almighty and wept for joy.
This Felling of the Tent of Guy Self Proclaimed King of Jerusalem signifies the beginning of the end of Salibiyeen rule over al quds
The great oathbreaker Reynald lies in the dust from which he arose no more than words and a desert ghost.
When confronted with his great oathbreaking Reynald Replied "kings have always acted thus. I did nothing more." Saladin then executed Raynald himself, beheading him with his sword. Guy fell to his knees at the sight of Raynald's corpse but Saladin bade him to rise, saying, "It is not the wont of kings, to kill kings; but that man had transgressed all bounds, and therefore did I treat him thus. This man was only killed because of his maleficence and perfidy." this showing his true and magnanimous character.
Guy the Usurper and the idol called the true cross by the Khafr are both in Damascus in the hand of the sultan.
Since the time of al Harawi we have borne the burden of the khafr salibiyeen. We may now in sha ullah drive the infidel from our lands. and god willing leave the khafr no home but the saddles of their horses.
Faras Khalil is leading a contingent from the islamic kingdom of Meridies and will gather armies and Faras from the neighboring islamic Kingdoms to fight the infidel and drive him from our lands in sha ullah in support of the sultan. Please join Faras Khalil in the most holy of causes to free al quds from the infidel and fulfill the words of the prophet , peace be upon him, Fight until every man says there is no god but god.
Abu Al Hol
Brothers and Sisters of the true Faith. News has reached the Sultan that the scattered elements of the infidel army are converging upon Tyre. This I believe will bbe their last attempt to stop the armies of the Faithful before we reach Jerusalem. Warriors, Amirs and Knights gird yourselves and prepare to wash the stench of the infide from the sands of our lands! After the loss of so many of their demon monks at Hattin and the loss of their cross, Allah has shown us the path to restoring and spreading the Faith! Allahu Akbar!